NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – The Cabinet has supported the reduction of salaries for public servants in a move aimed at curbing the government’s wage bill.
A statement from State House said that the Cabinet which met on Thursday was pleased with the recent announcement by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on the new pay structure in the public service, but said more should be done to cut the wage bill.
“On the public wage bill, the Cabinet noted the bold steps taken by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) towards a long term solution to the public service wage bill. However, the Cabinet expressed concern that the measures announced by SRC are not adequate and more steps should be taken to further reduce the wage bill.”
A Cabinet sub-committee was also formed to study the SRC report and develop comprehensive measures to further control the escalation of the public wage bill.
On Tuesday, the Sarah Serem-led salaries commission released a new pay structure detailing a drastic reduction in the earnings of all public servants, including the President and Members of Parliament, Chief Justice, Governors, Senators and other constitutional office holders.
The commission recommended a maximum earning of Sh1.7 million for the President from the current Sh2 million; Deputy President Sh1.48 million down from the current Sh1.93 million, MPs from Sh851,200 to Sh740,927 among others.
Serem said that the government will save up to Sh500 million in the new salary scale.
She said the current wage bill of Sh14 billion was unsustainable and could have led to a collapse of the government functions.
“What we are trying to introduce is relativity and this means that there is an improvement at the lower levels while the top is reduced or maintained at the same level. I think what we need to appreciate as Kenyans is the fact that If you are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), we have moved to the High Dependency Unit (HDU),” she pointed out.
The SRC arrived at the proposed figures with the assistance of PriceWaterhouseCoopers which conducted a job evaluation for all State offices. The process focused on job evaluation, assessment of level of skill or competency required, and comparison to international practices.
Kenyans on Thursday got the first opportunity to participate in setting the salaries of State officers as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission began public hearings on the proposed pay.
The public will be involved in the harmonisation of salaries for State officers only as required by Article 10 of the Constitution and the SRC will adjust the pay proposals before gazetting them at the end of the public hearings on February 15.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) chairman Omboko Milemba was first to make his contribution and opposed the proposed salaries saying they were still too high.
On Monday, President Kibaki called for support for SRC in its endeavour to ensure fairness in the remuneration of public servant.